Kenai River Brown Bears ready for Rage

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Kenai River Brown Bears will face road Rage tonight, Friday and Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center.

The Dawson Creek Rage come to town for North American Hockey League games at 7:05 p.m. tonight and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Dawson Creek, from British Columbia, is in the midst of an 11-game road trip. The Rage lost three games to the Alaska Avalanche of Palmer last weekend. After facing the Brown Bears, the Rage travel to Fresno, Calif., for a pair of games before finishing with three games at Wenatchee, Wash.

The Brown Bears, meanwhile, are just getting started on a stretch where 14 of their 16 games are at home. The home stand started with a split against Fresno.

Kenai River coach Oliver David, who has his team in third in the West Division at 6-6-1, said it is important to get some points against Dawson Creek, which is in last in the West at 3-9-1.

The Brown Bears were able to get five points from the Rage in three games played at Dawson Creek to start October.

"We just played them last week, and we were able to get a point out of each contest," David said. "I expect the same level of play from our guys."

David said the team is looking to remove the taste of a 4-3 loss to Fresno on Oct. 6 in which the Bears outshot the Monsters 49-35. Kenai River was 0-for-15 on the power play in the game.

"That can't carry over," David said.

In that game, Doug Beck, the team's top point scorer with six goals and eight assists, left the game with a bloody arm after getting slashed.

"It looked a lot worse than it is," David said. "He's just fine. Even with the smallest cut, when your heart is pumping 100 miles per hour, the blood starts coming out quickly. It didn't require stitches."

The Brown Bears also are hoping to have Soldotna High School product Brad Duwe back on the ice against the Rage. Duwe has seven points in nine games, but got sick on the trip to Dawson Creek and missed the Monsters series.

David also is hoping goalie Mathias Dahlstrom can make his home debut in the Rage series. Dahlstrom has missed the last two series with injuries, meaning Josh Benton has played the last five games.

The coach also said Chris Rial has been helping the Bears by playing both offense and defense, while rookies Ryan Walker, Shane Topf and Andrew Huckleby have showed that the future of the program is bright.

David also gave credit to assistant coach Vince Redford for organizing the team's defense.

"I learn from him every day," David said. "The guy's a local youth hockey hero."

The Brown Bears averaged 399 fans for their first two games of the season. David said the fans were enthusiastic, but he's hoping more will come out now that the community is getting to know the team, and now that the games will be on better days of the week.

"Every morning from 9 to 11 we require players to immerse themselves in and around the community doing volunteer work," David said. "Those players that don't have schoolwork, they spent their first full week at home volunteering at the hospital, volunteering in schools, and getting out and about."

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